ASF outbreak brings challenges, opportunities for US feed producers


By Aerin Einstein-Curtis, Feed Navigator



The outbreak of African Swine Fever in Asia may bring both challenges and opportunities to US feed producers as export demand dwindles initially and livestock producers seek to fill animal protein demands, says analyst.


CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange examined the potential repercussions for US feed exports and use stemming from the ongoing outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China and other parts of Asia in a new report​​.


The loss of swine from the disease in China and throughout affected parts of Asia is expected to mean a shortfall in animal protein production in those regions and reduce US feed exports.


CoBank wanted to assess the implications of the ASF epidemic on the US feed and livestock industry.


Will Secor, economist focused on grain, oilseed and farm supply with CoBank, told us: “A lot of the discussion has been just trying to figure out what’s going on in China and the rest of Southeast Asia where African Swine Fever is the major issue affecting not just them, but is having major ripple effects. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on in China, and what we wanted to do with this report was take an approach that looks specifically at the US animal protein and feed sectors."​


Overall, the authors expect the US animal protein production sector to benefit from increased export demand. However, they anticipate that the exports of US feed products will decline due to the reduction in the swine herd in China and other regions affected by the disease.


However, there also will be some offsetting effects globally and within China, said Secor.


“The rest of the world will also get involved as the sheer scale of the industry in China is staggering. China produced around 55m metric tons of pork in 2018, that’s about half of all world pork production, and the US produced about 12m metric tons that year,”​ he said.


The official figures from China show that its hog herd is down about 21% and pork production down a similar number.


"If we see pork production there decline around 25% production, that will be roughly similar to all of US pork production disappearing from the global pork production equation.​


“The breathtaking scale means there is not enough meat production around the world to fill that gap."​


Feed use and market forces​ ...


Long-term considerations​ ...